Kerrigan says ’Haven now a stronger force

Cork footballer Paul Kerrigan believes Castlehaven are better-equipped to deal with the challenge of Dr Crokes than in last year’s Munster club final.

On Sunday, the Cork champions begin their provincial campaign away to their Kerry counterparts, who are seeking a third successive title. Kerrigan was on the Nemo Rangers team beaten by the Haven in last month’s county final and also played when Nemo overcame Crokes in the 2010 Munster final.

Since then, Crokes haven’t been beaten in a county or provincial championship game but Kerrigan believes Haven will be hungry for success.

“Last year, they were probably happy to win a first county in a while,” he said. “This year, they’ve played a bit cuter, they have more experience. Even the way, they dragged it back against us, they showed real composure, so that should stand to them.

“They’re probably the best two teams in Munster. For Crokes, I’d say Munster wouldn’t even be enough for them now at this stage and the Haven have been the best club in Cork for the last three years so they’d be disappointed not to get a Munster out of it.”

Brian Hurley has been the Haven’s main scoring threat all year, scoring 12 points in the county final win. His Cork team-mate feels he is close to unstoppable, but that if he is not firing then they could suffer.

“That might be their only problem. Mark [Collins] would be a good scoring threat for them too but sometimes they might need him out around the middle of the field winning ball.

“With the form Brian is in though, he’s very hard to stop at the moment. I wouldn’t be surprised if Crokes deployed somebody to man-mark him. It’ll be interesting, it’s difficult to stop him but if you do then you go a long way towards stopping the Haven.”

While Crokes may have chosen the venue they feel best suits them, Kerrigan doesn’t expect Haven to be cowed by it.

“I was surprised enough they put it in their own place,” he said, “I thought that maybe Fitzgerald Stadium might have suited them a bit better. Going in there against them, you need to have a siege mentality and that could suit the Haven, they like it like that more than anyone.”


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